Triggered by a Treadmill
The other day I was running on a treadmill and accidentally hit my hand against the settings, making it a countdown instead of keeping time. I kept my eye on it and hoped nothing would happen. My goal was to run 6 miles – which I split into 2 sets (run 3 miles, rest/walk for a little, then run 3 more). I was almost at the first 3 miles, when the countdown timed out and the entire treadmill shut off. I got so frustrated and angry with it I surprised myself.
Not that big of a deal. I could just do the math and run, so why did I get so triggered?
“Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the heart of fools.”Ecclesiastes 7:9
Anyway, I did the math and kept running. But during my next 3 miles, I thought about how quick I was to get angry and realized that a lot of times we accidentally make mistakes like that in life. On accident. We hit our hand against something and keep running. We don’t always notice it, or choose to ignore it, or we keep an eye out and hope for the best. But when the countdown stops and the situation turns against us, we get mad at what’s in front of us: the situation, people, or in my case, the treadmill. We shift the blame from what WE DID EARLIER on accident towards what didn’t work for us or worked against us.
We blame external factors, if not the devil.
When in reality, it was our hand that caught onto something and switched the settings.
Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.Mark 7:15
Instead of acknowledging the fact that I messed up the treadmill with my own hand, I got furious. And if you know me, I don’t get angry often. I kept running instead of stopping to adjust the settings back to normal. Yes, I kept an eye on it. I was aware that I did it, but I still kept running. I didn’t address the mistake right away, and that set me up for frustration.
We all make mistakes, but the testing of our character is how we deal with those mistakes and respond/react to the aftermath. It’s not our fault for not knowing what will happen later, but it’s in our control to watch our behavior.
“Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.”Proverbs 37:8
Through all of this, God spoke to me and said,
“Hey, it’s ok. You made a mistake. But because you didn’t address it right away, you got angry later. But listen, it’s ok, because now you know to be more careful next time; to be more aware of your surroundings and what’s in front of you; to look at the accidentals and think it through; to be quick to listen and learn, and adjust. Because when you’re quick to listen, you’re quick to learn. And when you’re quick to learn, you get slower to anger. Now you know. Do the math and run. Don’t let that anger follow you. Because that mistake doesn’t have to be part of your story, only what you learned.”
Ultimately, if I had just stopped and changed the settings back, I would’ve saved myself from this lesson. But here I am, telling you about how I got mad at a treadmill and God spoke through it. Thankfully, our Helper, the Holy Spirit, came through with some brilliant advice. I know that if I had
Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,Ephesians 4:26-27
and give no opportunity to the devil.
When we make mistakes, let’s pause and adjust the “settings.” It might take longer and feel awkward (especially if it’s with a person), but it’ll lengthen your patience, make you more attentive, and ultimately, make you slow to anger.
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,Romans 5:3-4
and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.